This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
The Ordinary is *Cruelty-Free
The Ordinary has confirmed they do not test their products or ingredients on animals or ask others to test on their behalf. Their suppliers also do not test on animals, nor do they allow their products to be tested on animals when required by law. And finally, their products are not sold in stores in mainland China or any other country that may require animal testing.
By our standards, we would consider The Ordinary to be *Cruelty-Free.
*The Ordinary is owned by Estee Lauder, a corporation that is NOT cruelty-free because they allow some of their other brands to test on animals.
It’s your choice whether you want to support or boycott cruelty-free brands owned by a parent company that is not cruelty-free. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to this. I encourage you to do what you’re comfortable with, but I think it’s important to disclose that Estee Lauder owns a majority stake in The Ordinary.
Below is a screenshot of The Ordinary’s official animal testing statement:
What About China’s Animal Testing Laws?
As of May 1, 2021, some imported ordinary cosmetics can be exempt from animal testing under certain conditions. However, for the most part, animal testing is still legally required for most imported cosmetics in 2021.
But The Ordinary has confirmed they do not sell their products in retail stores in mainland China; therefore, they are not required to test on animals.
Note that there is no legal definition for the label ‘Cruelty-Free.‘ It can mean different things to different people. But Cruelty-Free is generally used to imply no animal testing. More specifically, the ingredients, formulation, or finished product are not tested on animals at any stage of product development.
At ethical elephant, we always assess a company’s cruelty-free policy using our Cruelty-Free Checklist. This ensures no animal testing was performed by the brand itself, its suppliers, and by any third parties.
Also, note that Cruelty-Free and Vegan don’t always mean the same thing.
The Ordinary is 100% Vegan
The Ordinary has confirmed all of its products are vegan and don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.
Below is what’s currently stated on The Ordinary’s website:
The Ordinary used to state on its website that the “majority” of its products are vegan. But their website has been updated and they now claim all of their products are 100% vegan.
Similar to ‘Cruelty-Free,’ there is no standard or legal definition for the label ‘Vegan.’ But it’s usually used in the context to describe something that doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products.
Some common animal products used in cosmetics include carmine, lanolin, snail mucus, beeswax, honey, pearl or silk-derived ingredients, animal-based glycerin, keratin, and squalene.
There are plant-based and synthetic alternatives to animal-derived ingredients. But it’s sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a product is vegan just by reading the ingredient list.
So it’s best to ask the company and manufacturers to ensure the ingredients they’ve chosen to use were from non-animal sources.
Ethical Mica Mining Policy
Mica is a mineral that’s used in cosmetics to add a shimmery effect. But the mining of natural mica has been linked to child labor and human rights violations.
Unless a company publicly addresses its mica mining policy, we have no way of knowing whether its mica is ethically sourced without child or forced labor.
So I asked The Ordinary if their mica is ethically sourced without the use of child labor and they responded by stating,
“Hi! Our products meet all safety requirements and are assessed by qualified assessors. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide MSDS to consumers.“
The Ordinary did not specifically address where their mica is sourced from and how they audit or trace to ensure no child labor was involved in mining their mica.